‘Where Peace Is Lost’ by Valerie Valdes | SFF Pick of the Month

Valdes delivers with her epic worldbuilding and characterizations in this sharp and poignant novel that's the SFF highlight from the June issue.

Valdes, Valerie. Where Peace Is Lost. Harper Voyager. Aug. 2023. 400p. ISBN 9780063085930. pap. $19.99. SF

For the last five years, Kel has led a quiet, mostly isolated life as a refugee on the planet Loth. The Pale Empire’s war left her old life in ruins, and Kel needed to leave that life behind in order to survive. However, an old Pale war machine has been reactivated and is moving to destroy every living thing on the planet. Two people are willing to try to deactivate the machine, and Kel and her young friend Lunna agree to be their guides, as Loth’s swamps, bandits, and other dangers are not known to off-worlders. As the group moves to meet the automaton, they discover that dark secrets have forged this path and that the truth about Kel’s past may lead even more forces of war to them all. VERDICT Terrific action sequences do not detract from the emotional arc that Kel follows as a war survivor. Valdes (Fault Tolerance) delivers with her epic worldbuilding and characterizations in this sharp and poignant novel.

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